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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Flute Quartet No. 1 in D major, K285
Oboe Quartet in F major, K370
Clarinet Quintet in A major, K581
Brindisi Quartet
Jaime Martin (flute), Jonathan Kelly (oboe), Nicholas Carpenter (clarinet)
Rec January - March 1996, No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
EMI DEBUT CDZ5697022[63.34]
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EMI's Debut series of recordings is a laudable attempt to give exposure to young artists of outstanding ability. During recent years the tours of the Brindisi Quartet has brought their work to the attention of the discerning musical public, and this beautifully recorded CD serves their already significant reputation well.

The Brindisi players combine with young British wind players of proven quality: Jaime Martin (flute), Jonathan Kelly (oboe) and Nicholas Carpenter (clarinet). All three performances - Flute Quartet, Oboe Quartet, Clarinet Quartet - offer some distinguished playing with well judged phrasing and tempi, the clear headed textures sensitively captured by the EMI engineers in their prime studio location in London.

The textures have much in common across the three performances, in fact. Rarely can one hear all the strands of complex texture, even in chamber music recordings, but all praise to EMI for the clarity they have achieved here. In particular the two earlier pieces, featuring the flute and the oboe, gain from the fleetness of phrasing and the beautifully clear articulation, and it was an imaginative programming ploy to place them together on a disc with the great Clarinet Quintet. It is surprising how seldom this pairing has been offered.

It is in the Clarinet Quintet that a few caveats raise their heads, albeit relatively minor ones. Whereas the lightness of touch suits the young Mozart admirably, the music of his final year is altogether more complex. That complexity is not denied us, of course, but in truth this remains a relatively lightweight performance, with cleanly articulated lines but less gravitas than the music can take. Such a view is altogether possible, and the effect is nothing if not convincing; but having said that, there are many alternative performances, in a crowded market, which find more depth and spirituality. For while there is skill in abundance on display here, this music can be more emotionally complex and darkly expressive than this.

Terry Barfoot

 


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